Less is More: Trends at BIOFACH
2/20/2023 Innovative Processes Article

Less is More: Trends at BIOFACH

The "less is more" trend is increasingly shaping the packaging industry. The BIOFACH and VIVANESS trade fairs in Nuremberg have just shown how much the focus now lies on minimizing the environmental impact and reducing packaging. Carolina Schweig was also on site. For FACHPACK360° the renowned market expert classifies the current development, which moves newcomers just as much as established companies.

There were lots of novelties and packaging trends for organic food at BIOFACH There were lots of novelties and packaging trends for organic food at BIOFACH
Tradition and modernity, pioneers and newcomers met from February 14 to 17 in the Exhibition Center Nuremberg at BIOFACH, World's Leading Trade Fair for Organic Food and VIVANESS - International Trade Fair for Natural Cosmetics. One of the defining trends of the two exhibitions can be summarized under the catchword "Less is more": The trend towards reduction, which leads, for example, to much of the natural cosmetics sector being presented in white glass. Fewer companies than a year ago, on the other hand, seem to be focusing on wood, cork and organically filled bioplastics. Carolina Schweig, an engineering graduate and packaging expert, saw many substitute materials at the trade show. "Fiber pulp, with the wildest coatings, and white glass, partially sprayed white - the glass industry and the paper industry will have their "dear trouble" with these concepts. Which of these is truly recyclable, I dare not judge."
Faced with potential problems with innovative packaging solutions, many companies are relying on the tried and true. Proof of concept is now a considerable advantage in the face of an increasingly critical public, from private consumers to environmental protection associations. What is already in use, from tubes and white glass bottles to PET bottles with dispensers, remains set and is sometimes supplemented with sustainable attributes. A claim of FSC certification on a cartion with FSC-mix materials is cited by skeptical observers as an example. "The real innovations," Schweig says with regard to natural cosmetics, "occurred 3 to 4 years ago with dry products. Toothpaste powder, solid shower, solid shampoo, some with re-fill options." While these trends continue to be played with, natural cosmetics are running a bit behind conventional cosmetics and clean beauty, she said. In some cases, criticizes the industry expert, even minimum standards are not yet known, and own labels are created to represent "something of recyclable."

Glass in all colors 

In the organic food segment, sustainability activities now encompass almost all stages of food production - from climate-friendly cultivation and circular economy to resource-conserving processing and packaging. In the packaging sector in particular, the industry is showing an outstanding trend in the view of the trade fair observer: "Glass, glass, glass!" Products in green glass and amber glass are still coming from Switzerland and Austria, while the other countries are largely sticking to white glass. Paper lamination and paper packaging can also be seen, as well as the increased use of aluminum lids. But Schweig says only a few manufacturers dare to use truly minimized plastic packaging - such as flowpacks. Thus, she says, it's more about meeting a certain "code" than using appropriate packaging. "A large Weck jar fits the current code more than a Stabilosil bag made of mono material." The growing market share of vegetarian and vegan diets is also visibly impacting the packaging materials used. A lot of glass and paper or fiber is used - but printing inks and adhesives as well as coatings are rarely addressed. In the organic food sector, visitors to the trade show are struck by the creativity with which the company's own eco-labels are being developed for packaging. "The design is becoming colorful, almost American!"